Yesterday, we reported that the Malaysian automotive industry has had a subdued start to the year, with lacklustre January 2016 sales figures caused by a hangover from a strong end to 2015, fuelled by aggressive discounts and promos by carmakers. Against that backdrop, Perodua has managed to increase market share.

At a Chinese New Year lunch with the media today, Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh revealed that the company registered around 15,500 cars in January (slightly down, year-on-year), which translates to 34.4% market share for the month, based on P2’s total industry volume (TIV) estimate of close to 46,000 units (44,591 units according to the Malaysian Automotive Association).

Last year, Perodua recorded its highest ever annual sales with 213,300 units, which is around 32% of the Malaysian market. Topping the chart in 2015 meant that the Rawang-based company has comfortably maintained its market leading position, which it has held for 10 years now. P2’s target for 2016 is 216,000, which if achieved, will be another all-time high.

Despite carving out the biggest slice of the pie, Aminar admits that it’s not a great start to the year for the car industry. It’s a “softer market,” he said, adding that effects of the very high December 2015 registrations are being felt now.

Aminar echoed MAA’s prediction that February 2016 sales will continue to be slow, due to this month being a short one with holidays in between. “March and April will be a better reflection of the year ahead,” he said.

The Perodua Axia, Malaysia’s most popular car in 2015 with 99,700 sold in its first full year on sale, continues to draw in the crowd for P2. Last month, 10,600 bookings of the Axia were collected. Perodua management says that in tough economic times, people tend to “buy down”, and P2 serves the affordable segment very well.